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AS4011   The Physics of Nebulae and Stars 1

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 15

ECTS credits : 7

Level : SCQF level 10

Semester: 1

Availability restrictions: Not automatically available to General Degree students

Planned timetable: 10.00 am Tue, Wed, Thu (TBC)

This module introduces the physics of astrophysical plasmas, as found in stars and interstellar space, where interactions between matter and radiation play a dominant role. A variety of absorption, emission, and scattering processes are introduced to describe exchanges of energy and momentum, which link up in various contexts to control the state and motion of the matter, to regulate the flow of light through the matter, and to impress fingerprints on the emergent spectrum. The theory is developed in sufficient detail to illustrate how astronomers interpret observed spectra to infer physical properties of astrophysical plasmas. Applications are considered to photo-ionise nebulae, interstellar shocks, nova and supernova shells, accretion discs, quasar-absorption-line clouds, radio synchrotron jets, radio pulsars, and x-ray plasmas. Monte-Carlo computational techniques are introduced to model radiative transfer.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must ( pass AS2001 or pass AS2101 ) and pass PH2011 and pass PH2012 and ( pass MT2001 or pass MT2501 and pass MT2503 ) and pass PH3081 or pass PH3082 or pass MT2003 or ( pass MT2506 and pass MT2507 )

Anti-requisite(s): You cannot take this module if you take AS4023 or take AS3015

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 3 lectures occasionally replaced by whole-group tutorials.

Scheduled learning hours: 32

Guided independent study hours: 118

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 2-hour Written Examination = 75%, Coursework = 25%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 75%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 25%

Re-assessment: Oral Re-assessment, capped at grade 7


Module teaching staff: TBC

Additional information from school

Please see also the information in the School's Handbook for Honours modules available via This link also gives access to timetables for the modules